“Games such as Cubetto are “hot”, says Reyne Rice, a toy industry analyst. She says start-ups are leading the way in developing educational games that encourage tech savviness. By 2019 the global market for child-development toys will reach $39.5bn, with stem constituting 76 per cent of overall sales, according to Euromonitor, the market researcher.”
New York Toy Fair opens this weekend and our toy trend expert, Reyne Rice, has a sneak peek at some of the coolest toys this year!
Lego continues to innovate toys for younger kids. The LEGO DUPLO Batcave Challenge lets Batman fans be their favorite superheroes and drive the Batmobile and Batcycle as they look for The Joker and Poison Ivy. Create fun action scenes using these LEGO DUPLO bricks that are two times the size of a classic brick to accommodate smaller hands and help develop motor skills. Visit shop.lego.com to learn more!
Klutz has new titles in their book-based activity kits including LEGO Make Your Own Movie. Bring your favorite Lego mini-figures to life with this beginner guide to stop-motion animation. Create short, funny clips on a phone or tablet using six backgrounds and thirty-six LEGO elements. Visit Klutz.com to learn more!
A follow up to Sew Mini Treats is Sew Mini Animals that lets you stitch and stuff an assortment of fuzzy animals from felt. These mini plushies deliver full-size fun and everything you need to make up to 14 animals is included. Add extra accessories like hats, bows, and glasses to personalize your animals. Visit Klutz.com to learn more!
From the all-new Klutz Jr. line for preschoolers, My Egg Carton Animals lets kids transform specially made egg cartons into 6 barnyard animals. Fun animal facts throughout the book give an added giggle as kids paint and add googly eyes, cotton balls, and precut accessories to make their very own farm animal friends. Visit Klutz.com to learn more!
Spin Master is reviving ZhuZhu Pets from their launch in 2009 with over 20 new Zhu’s to collect! Each little hamster has a special hidden talent to discover. With their unique personalities and unpredictable behavior, Pipsqueak, Mr. Squiggles, Num Nums and Chunk love to zoom around, dance, talk and even sing. Make sure to check these cute guys out at ZhuZhuPets.com!
Kids can have hours of fun with the Giant Volcano with T-Rex from Schleich Dinosaurs play world. Press the skull to release the stalactites, set the dinosaur trap, or hit the large stone to see the fossil puzzle erupt from the side of the volcano. This playset encourages your child to explore the exciting world of dinosaurs with over 30 additional dinosaurs to collect. Click here to learn more!
Following the collectability trend, Whiffer Sniffers have become the “It Toy” for kids who collect. The new Series 4 will be introduced this year including Sour Saul, and May B Minty that kids clip to their backpack or sports bag. They smell like everything from popcorn to jelly beans! Or take a chance with this mystery package to find a rare special edition character. Visit WhifferSniffers.com to learn more!
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Aeromax Toys brings imagination to life. The Get Real Gear, My 1st Career Gear Tops, and accessories lets kids pretend to be firefighters, astronauts, chefs, and more. Pretend play inspires kids to dream big and helps build self esteem in their developmental years. They are known for their quality and durability, along with an affordable price. Visit AeromaxToys.com to learn more!
Greetings Toy, Games & Toy Tech fans! Thanks for visiting my newly updated website!
So what’s new with me? I’m excited to bring you the latest news on what’s happening at Key ToyFairs and events in North America, and across the global world of Toys & Games, Kids & Family technology, Entertainment & Licensing. I am constantly on the lookout for new trends and products that affect kids and families with the “Trickle Down Effect” (What is happening now in adult products, will trickle down to kids products within the next 12 to 18 months, or before!) Kids toys have never been more fun, interactive or engaging.
I spent the New Year at the International CES in Las Vegas in January 2017, & previewed the latest technology products for kids and families. Live from the Kids at Play Summit, I reported live news and clips of hot new tech trends, worked with the other KAPI Jurors to judge and award the Best of the Best in KAPi (Kids at Play Innovations) Awards, and got to see, and play with the latest drones, robots, electronic pets, STEM to STEAM to STREAM products, and just be a big kid in the world of technology. Yup, I do LOVE my career!
Then, I flew over to Germany to play in the biggest playground in the world at the Spielwarenmesse 2017 ToyFair in Nuremberg, Germany, where 18 halls of toys, games, kids tech, baby and infant products, costumes and more were waiting to be discovered. (See my blog posts from that Fair, here on my blog page, as well as connections to articles where I was recently quoted). As their lead Global Trend Hunter and a part of the Trend Committee, I was busy reporting on the news, meeting with other journalists from around the world, providing daily Trend Gallery 2017 Speeches, providing journalist overviews at the new Tech2Play Pavillion and presenting then latest innovations in Future Emerging Tech, in the Toy Business Forum.
In mid-February, I returned to New York City for the American International ToyFair and the Digital Kids Conference for more trend sleuthing, digital toy trend presentations , media coverage and playing with games, toys and kids technology! Saw more amazing products, and met so many new manufacturers, in the Innovation Zones, Creative Factor areas and in the show floor exhibits.
Then back to Europe, in late February, to provide a Keynote speech at the Eastern European Kids Time Toy and Baby Fair in Kielce, Poland. This trade show focuses on sales to and between many European, Eastern European, Russian and other countries (17 counties in all, attended this year), My coverage will be appearing in April 2017 issues of the ToyBook and other international publications.
In early April, I travel to Bologna Italy, where I will be one of the KeyNote Speakers for the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair, which is running concurrently with the Digital Media Hall and the Bologna International Book Fair. There, I will be featuring a presentation on the latest Digital Trends in Toys and their impact on the kids toys & licensing business. I will share the stage with Kidz Global Research Kids & Digital study results and the power of Spin Master in new technology product arenas. More news to follow.
Living with Passion,
Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?
As the industry has evolved, so have I. Over my 30-year history in the toy industry, I have followed a variety of paths, and have always stayed within the industry, just in different capacities. Always sleuthing for the latest trends, I am a sponge for learning from our industry’s creators and innovators.
I love my current role as Trend Hunter the best. It takes me around the world, attending over 24 trade shows and conferences each year, always learning from the innovators in our constantly changing world of what we define as toys, games and kids’ technology, all a part of the bigger world of PLAY, and EDUCATION, that unites and engages us.
I speak at 20 different international and domestic conferences each year, and tap into my backgrounds from my degree in International Business (earned at California State University of Northridge and the University of Copenhagen). I have worked with Ogilvy and Mather Advertising (USA and Denmark), Mattel (in Licensing/ Entertainment, domestic marketing, international marketing, OEM/ Hong Kong development), NPD Research (domestic and international and as industry expert), the Toy Industry Association (as their lead Trend Hunter and Industry Analyst for 8 years) and with the Spielwarenmesse and International Trend Committee teams, (for the past 10 years).
As a journalist and Co-President of ITMA (International Toy Trade Magazine Association), I get to share the news with readers around the world, in over 60 countries currently. As a consultant, I hand-select a few companies each year to guide through the process of moving their brands into international markets, and expanding their breadth and awareness to more global markets.
And as a Media Spokesperson and Media Influencer, I get to share the news about our ever-evolving and exciting industry with media outlets, and consumers around the globe. A fabulous role, and I love it. I am grateful to my many partners and colleagues across the globe, who make this career possible.
What do you love and what do you love to do?
I love fire, whether it is fireworks, sunsets, sunrises, candles or bonfire picnics, or the fire behind a new idea or the spark of laughter.
My best times are spent with friends, family and colleagues, sharing experiences and time together doing the simple things, like cooking together, playing games, walks and hiking and long walks on the beach, or sharing hobbies, either indoors or outdoors. I am a mixed media artist, and love to write and talk into the wee hours of the night. My favorite colors are turquoise blue and royal purple.
As a kid, I loved to perform in drama and children’s theater, and today, I am at ease on a stage or in front of a camera, because of those early experiences. If I can share someone’s new idea, toy, game or creation with the world, I have done my job of taking those new ideas to the next level of awareness. Keeping the fun in life, is a part of what makes the world go round.
How can you be reached and what are your next events?
I can be reached at Reyne@ReyneRice.com. My first quarter conferences and trade shows include CES 2017 and Kids at Play Conference (Las Vegas, USA), Spielwarenmesse (Nuremberg, Germany), The American International ToyFair (New York, USA ) and Digital Kids Conference (New York, New York), Kids Time Fair (Kielce, Poland) and Bologna Licensing Fair/ Book Fair (Bologna, Italy). Can’t wait to meet my toy industry colleagues and the industry’s innovators at these events.
Other examples of AR-powered toys and games, many of them STEM-focused, that have hit the shelves this holiday season include: Hologrid: Monster Battle; Neobear Magnifier NEO; Virtual Explorer Antopia Adventure; AirHogs Connect Mission Drone; and Skylanders. And it hasn’t come with the kind of collateral damage or disruptive cost to traditional toymakers as we might have expected.
“The interesting part is that the products and manufacturers that succeed use technology to enhance the play value of the products they bring to market,” Reyne Rice, chief executive of ToyTrends told the BBC in September.
This new breed of digitized toys and games introduces a digital layer that creates additional value to the underlying business proposition for toymakers.
The year of 2017 is shaping up to be another substantial year for strong licenses and licensed properties, and brands with multi-generational appeal. There are a number of factors that support this premise. Character licensing is no longer relegated to the merchandising power of toys and games. Strong theatrical releases, live events and multi-tier tentpole events are driving merchandising dollars into apparel, publishing, sports, entertainment theme parks, and even more branded lifestyle categories.
For example, it was no coincidence that Pokémon Go attracted a wide swath of the population across multiple age groups. In 2017, the Pokémon brand celebrates their 20th anniversary. Kids who grew up with Pokemon are now young adults, for whom augmented reality treasure hunts were a positive pat-time for Summer 2016. Kids and parents also joined the foot traffic, as tens of millions of people across the globe hunted for the elusive Pokémon characters. Expect more Pokémon news throughout 2017, in new and exciting formats that will continue to break barriers with technology innovations. Promoting inter-generational play, active outdoor activities and the “Gotta Catch Em All “mentality will continue throughout 2017.
Key Anniversaries of Brands and Movie/TV Characters
|In the Night Garden||10||DHX Media|
|YooHoo & Friends||10||Aurora World/ Mondo TV|
|Build A Bear||20||Build-A-Bear|
|Pokemon||20||The Pokemon Company|
|Dragon Ball Z||30||Toie Animation|
|Care Bears||35||American greetings|
|Maya the Bee||40||Studio 100|
|Star Wars||40||Lucas Ent/ Disney|
|Toie Animation||60||Toie Animation|
|Mr Potato Head||65||Hasbro|
|Wonder Woman||75||Marvel/ Disney|
|Daffy Duck||80||Warner Bros Looney Tunes|
|Goofy animated character||85||Disney|
|Peter Rabbit: Beatrix Potter||150||Sony / Penguin/Beatrix Potter|
Other strong cross-generational brands celebrating major milestones include Star Wars 40th anniversary. Their first action figures for boys were launched in 1977, and stores couldn’t get enough merchandise to meet demand, even then. This dual target audience brand (kids and adults) will be strengthened with another new Star Wars movie, Episode VIII in late 2017, and the Rogue One movie (Holiday 2016) will continue to offer new footage and characters with epic stories in late 2016 and spilling over into 2017.
On a softer side, Care Bears will be celebrating its 35th anniversary with a Fall 2017 movie release. TeleTubbies are back, marking a 20 year anniversary with new TV episodes. Their storyline has been updated for today’s kids by updating the television screen on their tummies with touch-screens. Power Rangers continue to appeal to new fans each year, and will be celebrating 25 years of Power Rangers with their own 2017 movie launch. DragonBall Z (30th) and even Dirty Dancing (30th) will continue to tug at Millennial heart strings, with young adults and new parents remembering their childhood favorites.
With this knowledge of upcoming movies and strong anniversaries, store shelves and online channels will continue to appeal to the dual-target market audiences, and offer an inter-generational connection for the young and the young-at-heart.
Blockbuster Movies 2017 with Popular License Properties
|The Greatest Showman on Earth||20th Century Fox||Jan 2017|
|Monster Trucks||Paramount||Feb 2017|
|LEGO Batman||Warner Bros||Feb 2017|
|Beauty & The Beast||Disney||March 2017|
|King Arthur; Legends of the Swords||Warner Bros||March 2017|
|Smurfs 3: The Lost Village||Sony||April 2017|
|Guardians of the Galaxy 2||Disney||April 2017|
|Fast 8: Fast & the Furious||NBC Universal||April 2017|
|Power Rangers||Lionsgate||April 2017|
|Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales||Disney||May 2017|
|Despicable Me 3 (Minions)||Universal||June 2017|
|Wonder Woman||Warner Bros||June 2017|
|Transformers 5: The Last Knight||Paramount||June 2017|
|Thor Ragnarok||Disney||July 2017|
|Cars 3||Disney||July 2017|
|Emoji Movie: Express Yourself||Sony||Aug 2017|
|LEGO Ninjago||Warner Bros||Sept 2017|
|Care Bears: The Movie||Not yet announced||Sept 2017|
|Justice League||Warner Bros||Nov 2017|
|Black Panther||Disney||Nov 2017|
|Croods 2||20th Century Fox||Dec 2017|
|Star Wars, Episode VIII||Disney||Dec 2017|